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Auckland set to welcome gigantic cruise ship

Auckland set to welcome gigantic cruise ship

The historic arrival this weekend of the $1 billion cruise ship Star Princess is going to be a fabulous spectacle no Aucklander should miss,” Auckland City Mayor Hon John Banks said today.

“As tall as the Auckland Harbour Bridge and more than twice as big as the Titanic, the Star Princess is a floating city which will dwarf our Hilton Hotel.

“I encourage the public to take the opportunity to see her first-hand. She is the biggest cruise ship ever to sail in Australasian waters. At 18 stories high, 290 metres long and 109,000 tonnes, she is a staggering 43 per cent bigger than anything we’ve seen before,” said Mr Banks.

Star Princess picks up her pilot in the Hauraki Gulf at 6.30am this Sunday, arriving into the Waitemata Harbour at about 7am. She is expected to berth at Princes Wharf at around 8am. The Mayor will go aboard as part of a small official welcoming party.

The P&O Cruises’ megaliner will return to Princes Wharf three times this summer - 8 December, 3 January and 31 January.

“Businesses in and around the waterfront and CBD will notice a huge influx as 2,700 passengers and up to 1,100 crew disembark. Previous economic reports estimate that while in port, passengers spend an average of $150 a day in shops and restaurants alone. In the case of Star Princess that equates to around $500,000 each day,” said Mr Banks.

The two-year-old ship has travelled from Los Angles via Hawaii and Tahiti. During her three-month season of cruises between Australia and New Zealand, she will also visit Fiordland National Park and dock at the ports of Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

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Most passengers enjoying Star Princess’ Australasian itinerary are from some of New Zealand’s key tourism markets - Europe, America and Australia.

Tourism Auckland Chief Executive Officer Graeme Osborne says: “The booming international cruise industry is adding to Auckland’s unprecedented economic role. During the 2003/2004 cruise ship season more than 50,000 tourists will give the City of Sails a big economic boost.”

“Twenty different cruise ships are set to make 33 calls into Auckland over the coming months. I know Aucklanders will make visitors feel at home and among friends,” said Mr Osborne.

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